Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Evan Collins named first team all-Ohio, Greater Cleveland Player of the Year

Independence senior Evan Collins scored 17 goals and added 17 assists in leading the Blue Devils to its first Chagrin Valley Conference championship and the Division III district championship game.

The Blue Devils finished the regular season with a 14-0-2 mark and outscored their opponents, 112-24.

Collins played a big role in that success and for his efforts he earned several post-season honors including being named Greater Cleveland Soccer Coaches Association Division III Player of the Year and first team All-Ohio.

“I feel really blessed to be honored that way,” Collins said. “I definitely owe a lot of my individual success to my team. Although I'm being honored as player of the year and such, I feel like I'm the same player I was freshman year.”

Collins, who finished his career with a school record in both goals (61) and assists (45), also was named first team All-Chagrin Valley Conference, first team All-Greater Cleveland for the second year in a row and a team captain.

He entered his senior season with two goals: to be first team All-Ohio and to win a district championship.

A shootout loss to Columbia in the district final kept Collins from achieving both goals.

“Although my second goal wasn't met, I feel content with the work our team put in,” he said. “We put so much effort in for every practice and every game, and that is all I could ever ask for.”

Collins was one of eight Independence seniors that defended their home turf with an 18-0-1 record the past two seasons.

Nolan Fields scored four goals and added four assists in earning first team all-Greater Cleveland and first team all-CVC honors.

Other all-conference winners included Ryan Straub, who scored five goals and had four assists in being named Honorable Mention all-CVC and Honorable Mention all-Greater Cleveland, and Kevin Mewhinney, who finished with 17 goals and 12 assists on the year. Mewhinney was Second Team All-CVC and Honorable Mention all-Greater Cleveland.

Matt Mroczynski, who contributed with two assists, earned his fourth letter in both cross country and soccer this fall. He also took home the Blue and Gold Award.

David Wisniewski earned Academic All-Ohio honors for carrying a 3.7 cumulative GPA over four year and also was named Independence’s Sportsmanship Award winner. Drew Benos scored three goals and had an assist in a variety of roles and Emmett Neuman also earned a varsity letter after missing his junior season.

Junior Wyatt Kunevicius also set a school record for goals in a single season (33).

Steve Harehttp://www.ohiovarsity.com
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes OhioVarsity.com, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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